The Kansas Senate judiciary committee has passed 2 bills that will hurt the pro-life cause: one (SB 456) restricting free speech and the other (SB 468) aimed at preventing citizen-petitioned grand juries. Both bills deserve the axe, so contact your Senator quickly as the bills are on the fast track for Senate action.
UPDATE: Senators Tim Huelskamp, Dick Kelsey and Mary Pilcher-Cook helped stave off adoption of SB 468 this afternoon and it has been sent to committee, possibly til next week. SB 456 is still slated for debate tomorrow, Friday, Feb.19. Keep those contacts coming, Senate offices can be reached at 1-800-432-3924.
SB 456 is a clear attempt to silence KFL in the upcoming elections by eliminating our ability to use auto-dialed phone calls. Without any evidence of a real and unsolvable problem of phone call harassment, the A. G.’s office waltzed this bill through the Judiciary committee, which lacks a pro-life majority.
Kansas already has a no-call sign-up mechanism to prevent unwanted sales calls, with statutory penalties for offending businesses. According to the premier legal firm in the nation on this subject, SB456 is a clear infringement of the first amendment right to freely communicate political messages.
SB 468 will effectively end citizen-petitioned grand juries that have been recently used against abortionists and sex businesses. The bill raises the number of signatures needed by well over 500%. It invents a labyrinth of rules and affidavits, and would allow bureaucrats to reject any petition they don’t like!
The essential right to seek redress of the government is undone by this horrible bill, SB 468. A good alternate bill is HB 2226, which would give district attorneys and the A.G. the power to convene grand juries, without changing the rules for citizen-petitioned grand juries one iota.
TALKING POINTS on SB 468
►SB 468 was created by a pro-abortion Senator, ostensibly to reduce court expenses and prevent “harassment”.
►SB 468 intends to prevent the filing of such petitions by raising the number of signatures needed from 100 +2% of the number of county votes actually cast in the last gubernatorial election, up to 100 + 5% of total registered county voters! (In Johnson County that would be a 418% increase. In Sedgwick and Shawnee counties, it would 500%!)
►SB 468 undermines the very point of citizens petitioning their government to correct failures and abuses by subjecting the process to the judgment of one bureaucrat (in this case, the judicial clerk) who can reject a petition with thousands of signatures for these subjective reasons (see section 3 of the bill) such that he/she:
1) doesn’t like the facts listed,
2) doesn’t think laws are being broken,
3) believes it is “harassment,”
4) believes the motivation is improper,
5) believes it will burden the court,
6) believes it causes “needless” expense,
7) suspects the evidence is insufficient,
8) suspects lack of “honest belief.”
Kansans for Life has utilized the grand jury 3 times.
In 1993, KFL convened a grand jury by citizen petition for government inaction to prevent harm to women by abortionist Wm.Malcolm Knarr. (Mr. Knarr later lost his Kansas medical license for a dozen statutory violations, including felony drug abuse and serial malpractice.) After our grand jury was convened, the Shawnee county prosecutor took over the jury and reassigned them to investigate individuals who had protested at her home. The grand jury was used for intentional harassment, political advancement and personal gain BY THE PROSECUTOR– not the citizen convenors!
In 2006, KFL convened a grand jury by citizen petition against a Wichita abortion clinic for the death of a healthy teen during a grueling abortion procedure ending Jan 13, 2005. After the legislature kicked out the corrupt executive director of the state Board of Healing Arts, the Board took actions to remove the medical license of the clinic owner, saying he had been involved in illegal abortions during the patient’s death. The grand jury prosecutor had refused to force at least 2 key witnesses to testify, so who was wasting tax payer money? Not the citizen convenors, who had accurately delineated the illegalities in the petition!
In 2008, KFL convened a Wichita grand jury by citizen petition to enforce the post-viability ban. The prosecutor misstated relevant state Supreme Court rulings and refused to allow a key witness to testify. After the legislature kicked out the corrupt executive director of the state Board of Healing Arts, the Board took actions to remove the medical license of the lead abortionist, saying he had been involved in illegal abortions exactly as charged in the petition by citizen convenors!